Bonfire started off as the base for a couple of larger projects that Lonnie Ezell worked on freelance in 2009. It provided a good core to work with for new projects. With each project that he worked on, Lonnie found new ways to implement things, nicer ways to organize code. It was constantly changing, and not providing the stable kick-start that it should have been.
In 2011, Lonnie finally decided that enough was enough. There are tools that all larger web applications should have in place that many of us solo developers rarely have the time to fully implement for each project. That became Bonfire's mission: to provide an elegant UI that wrapped around some powerful developer tools we all want but never take the time to build out.
Bonfire does not intend to be a CMS. Instead, it strives to be the launching pad for your new application. You still have to know how to code. You still have all of the flexibility you need to build your app, your way.
Now.... you've got a headstart.